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The New Wow Factor in Hotel Design: Hypoallergenic Rooms

hotel room

Hotel rooms can be problematic places for those who suffer from allergies, triggering a slew of reactions ranging from sniffles, sneezes, and itchy eyes to full-blown asthma symptoms. As more hotels try to set themselves apart, a new trend has emerged: the hypoallergenic hotel room – a concept that isn’t aimed just at the allergic, but also at guests who are concerned with what is sometimes referred to as the “ick factor.”

While the creation of super-clean rooms is definitely a way for hotels to gain an edge in an age where luxury has become the norm, it’s no small task. Most of the major chains now have a number of hypoallergenic rooms which have been sterilized, sanitized, and deodorized to the extreme. Medical-grade air purifiers are added to filter out 98% to 100% of viruses and bacteria. Mattresses and pillows are encased in protective hypoallergenic covering to protect against dust mites, and fabrics are scrubbed with special solutions and protected with anti-allergen products.

But the purifying of hotel rooms doesn’t stop with this extreme sanitizing process; hotels are also renovating rooms to make them even healthier for allergy sufferers. Carpets are being ripped out and replaced with hard surfaces, and wood blinds are taking the place of curtains. Large format, porcelain tile panels have recently become an excellent alternative to wallpaper, and some hotels in Europe are experimenting with headboards and platform beds designed with tile.

Hotels do charge a premium (usually 5 to 10%) for these super sanitized rooms, but allergy sufferers say it’s well worth it, and many say they would pay more!

Give your hospitality designs the new wow factor!  GIO brings you a carefully curated selection of beautiful, sanitary and hypoallergenic porcelain tile and stone products developed expressly for your commercial design projects. Turn to us for the latest solutions in architectural surfacing –we’re here to work with you!

Sustainable and Green Design Practices for Hospitality Projects

Jetwing Vil Uyana Resort
Perhaps the ultimate definition of eco-hotel:  a back-to-nature retreat at Jetwing Vil Uyana, an eco-friendly luxury resort in Sri Lanka.

Sustainability is no longer a trend; it has become a way of life for many, including a large percentage of America’s travelers. According to the Travel Industry Association of America, 43 million people in the US alone are eco-conscious travelers who are willing to pay 8.5 percent more to environmentally sensitive travel suppliers. A survey of U.S. travelers found 87 percent would be more likely to stay at “green” properties.

Hoteliers are recognizing the compelling need to adopt sustainable operating practices for the sake of efficiency, cost savings, and green building requirements–-and because their guests are demanding more than just being asked to reuse their towels. Embracing sustainable and green programs can provide a significant competitive advantage to businesses in the hospitality sector.

Here are some eco-friendly design practices specific to hospitality projects.

1. Hospitality interiors are often renovated because they have become outdated. Try to avoid or delay future renovations by employing timeless design.

2. Use durable, premium materials for surfaces and finishes that will last beyond the typical hospitality useful life.

3. Work closely with the mechanical engineer and electrical engineer to specify occupancy sensors and digital thermostats for guestrooms.

4. Recommend occupancy sensors for public restrooms and back-of-house areas.

5. Recommend the use of Energy Star rated refrigerators and televisions in guest rooms.

6. Specify products with low VOC ratings. Look for suppliers that have submitted their products for testing by GreenGuard™ or other reputable testing agencies.

7. Specify fabrics that are sustainable and naturally flame retardant as opposed to fabrics with chemical flame retardants that off gas into the atmosphere. Learn more about specifying eco-fabrics for hospitality design projects here.

8. Specify sustainable wood products that have achieved Chain-of-Custody certifications from the Forest Stewardship Council for the manufacture of products with certified sustainable wood, from the forest to the customer.

9. Specify sustainable window treatments and allow guests to contribute to energy efficiency through management of natural light. For example, equip rooms with motorized switches or roller shades, making it easier to light up a room with sunshine. When combined with smart controls, these treatments automatically close when guests depart for the day, opening upon return.

10. When possible and appropriate, recycle existing materials instead of including them in the construction waste.

11. Recommend the placement of recycle bins with separation compartments in each room.

Why is sustainable hospitality important? The hospitality sector has a significant impact on the environment through energy and water consumption, use of consumable products, and solid and hazardous waste generation. These impacts create costs for hospitality service providers in decreased revenues, increased operating costs, and employee costs. And quite simply, having (and promoting) a sustainable design strategy is good for business.

Green_Squared_Certified_logoYou can depend on GIO for your sustainable design projects because many of our products are Green Squared certified. Green Squared provides all tile producers, foreign and domestic, with a clear benchmark for designing sustainable products which can be accepted by North American green building programs.

Hospitality Design: Designing Hotels for Millennials

Millenial marketingMillennials, born in the early 1980s to the early 2000s and with an estimated population of 70 to 80 million, are the fast-growing segment of today’s business travelers.  It has been forecasted that 24 percent of millennials plan to take more overnight trips in 2015 and this means hoteliers and designers must hone a millennial mindset.

Understanding how millennials think and act is key to understanding how to design for them. Millennials are a unique group–having grown up on technology. They are confident, high performance multi-taskers who value personal fulfillment, a work-life balance and flexibility. Though generally optimistic, millennials can be high-maintenance.

Millennials are known to be are genuinely interested in interacting and engaging with brands. Though they are open and willing to try new brands, that doesn’t necessarily make them loyal or easy to please. And if they aren’t pleased, they are very likely to broadcast their thoughts on social media. How can hoteliers attract this demographic? Here are five things to know about millennials as you address their needs in hotel design:

1. Millennials don’t like standing in line, and they would rather order online than talk to a person.

Hotels should be ever more accessible to the Internet, allowing these tech-savvy travelers the ability to use personal devices to check in, access their room, and request room services. This mindset could eventually lead to the demise of the time-consuming check-in at a  formal front desk.

2. Millennials expect technology to be foundational to their travel experience.

Design should be infused with technology that goes beyond just providing easy access to WI-FI throughout facilities. Spaces should be designed so that the cell signals are not impeded. Guest rooms and common areas should provide ample plugs/charging areas. Smart technology should enhance and offer ease and luxury in guest rooms.

3. Millennials are interested in collaboration and social interaction.

This generation wants the option to get out of their rooms and be with other people. Designing for millennials means creating inviting common areas, enhanced lobbies, and flexible, multi-functional public spaces, and unique bar environments that encourage and promote socializing and collaboration. Hoteliers who want to cater to millennials will likely funnel more of their design budget into gathering spaces that act as an extension of the accommodations experience, creating places where guests and locals can interact.

4. Millennials like to be “connected” to their surroundings.

Millennials want to have an “experience,” so geographic location becomes all the more important. They want to be in more urban, active, mixed-use environments and hotels should also assimilate the culture and energy of their locations in the design.

5. Millennials want cool, Instagrammable spaces for photo opps and social sharing.

Millennials, constantly absorbed in media, are accustomed to visual stimulation and have trained eyes for cool design and fine products. They live well documented lives in which they use social media to share their notable moments and special events. In creating beautiful hotel spaces, you can provide backdrops for millennial guests to snap and share online, in addition to enjoying in real life. As you design, consider every corner to be a potential setting for photos, videos and the like. In choosing flattering lighting and “must see” decorative details, you can design spaces that will consistently earn tags, likes, and follows.

GIO brings you a carefully curated selection of tile and stone products developed expressly for your commercial design projects. Our looks cover a range of styles to transform commercial spaces. From retail and restaurants to hospitals and hospitality, we’ve assembled an assortment of collections in styles befitting the gamut of spaces you may be called to design.